The Parsimonious Life of the $40m trader. 33,000 Missing CFA Candidates

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Traders - particularly those who make a lot of money - can be a little weird, it seems. Tom Hayes, the former UBS trader sent down for 14 years for his part in the Libor fixing scandal, has his own eccentricities.

Now, light is being shed into the life of Navinder Singh Sarao, the trader accused of causing the equity market ‘flash crash’ in 2010. Sarao’s bail has been reduced from £5m to £50k and for the moment he has been released. He is said to have racked up trading profits of $40m in five years and has it stashed away in Swiss bank accounts.

With that in mind, it was strange enough that he lived with his parents in a three-bedroomed semi in Hounslow, but this seems to be all part of Sarao’s prudent lifestyle.

Like Hayes, Sarao has Asperger’s Syndrome, and has his own ways of doing things. For a start, he doesn’t indulge in flashy items – he’s said to drive a “broken down green car”, rather than an Aston Martin, and even came into work after 10am in order to avoid the peak train time charges on his commute. He’d also always be clad in the “same jumper and tracksuit bottoms”.

Then there was way he traded. He used to don headphones to drown out the noise of trading floor and consume pints of milk at his desk, seemingly not caring if it dribbled down his chin on to his clothes. Nonetheless, Sarao was concerned with how much money he made - when he worked at Futex, which splits trader profits 50-50 or 90-10 for exceptional people, he grew frustrated at not being able to keep all the money he made.

But he was also skilled. “He could read a screen like the guy from The Matrix could,” said a technology salesman who watched him trade, citing a particularly dated reference point. “He once traded 5,000 lots while he was speaking to me.”

Separately, 21% of candidates for the CFA exams failed to show up this year. It’s up as a proportion on the previous year (20%) and equates to over 33,000 people. Given that a lot of people taking the exams are holding down a full-time job at the same time, the CFA Institute has encouraged employers to casually suggest that their staff turn up.

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Quote of the Day:

"I recently left a bank - narcissistic enough - to work for a hedge fund - worse. If you are not doing an ultramarathon every week you clearly haven't got what it takes to be a 'winner' in this industry. It's all about supermen/women looking in mirrors and trying to prove that not only are they intelligent but they're capable of more than the mere exercise of the underclasses," the reality of your new colleagues on the buy-side.

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